Badge Alliance Community Plan 2016

The Badge Alliance is a distributed community. Its membership is comprised of individuals and organizations who collaborate to build and support the open badging ecosystem. Our shared values include openness, learner agency, and innovation. In practice, that means we work in the open, start new collaborations quickly, and leave public records of a large proportion of Badge Alliance activities.

In June 2015, we convened the Open Badges Leaders Summit to identify strategic goals to advance the Open Badges ecosystem as it matures. One of the key outcomes of that convening was an understanding that resources in the badges community needed better organization and consolidation. Following up on that goal, the Badge Alliance has crafted the following documentation and community plan for 2016 that starts with a relaunch of our core web properties in Q1 followed by a refocusing of our communications channels to concentrate discussion activities and increase cross-pollination of related work.

The Community Plan below covers how Badge Alliance members can keep up with current events, participate in collaborative work, and convene to more deeply connect with peers and set the direction for their work.

Keeping up with Badges

One of the core functions of the Badge Alliance (BA) is to keep members connected to one another and informed about developments around the ecosystem as well as opportunities to participate in the development of the specification.

Badge Alliance calls are the main communications channel for planning and tracking collaborative work. We typically use a shared note taking space (etherpad) and an audio channel, sometimes with a presentation or screenshare (UberConference). In addition to the collaborative sessions, the BA employs many platforms for other work and publishing. For 2016 we will focus output to the following channels:

  • Working Groups and Task Forces — The collaborative technical work of the Badge Alliance is done in groups. The Standard and Higher Ed working groups are currently active, and new groups or more targeted Task Forces are periodically chartered to address the core areas of specification and ecosystem development that require direct collaboration. Each group makes its own schedule but typically meets fortnightly for an hour at a time that works best for its contributors. Event details and conference location appear on the Events Calendar. The Higher Ed Working Group meets every other Tuesday at noon US Eastern with the next meeting on March 22 featuring Ian O’Byrne. The Standard Working Group meets every other Tuesday at 2pm US Eastern with the next meeting on March 29.
  • Weekly Community Call — Every Wednesday at noon US Eastern is a 60-minute call that’s the heartbeat check-in for the Open Badges community. Featuring presentations from Open Badges implementers, community panels, and special topics from invited experts. Attending 4 weeks in a row is the quickest way to get up to speed on developments in badges. Topics are announced in advance on the core mailing list each week.
  • Badge Alliance Blog | Medium — For 2016, we’ve moved the official publication channel for timely writing to Medium, to consolidate several previous locations for our official written output. While most of the posts found here will be official posts by BA staff or working group deliverables, the BA solicits and accepts submissions for posts that share other perspectives on Open Badges ecosystem development. All posts published under CC-BY license.
  • Openbadges.org — The core resource hub for Open Badges, from the elevator pitch to detailed guides. This will be the official publication channel for documentation, but also links out to resources and compatible services offered by BA members. Badge Alliance staff, led by Chris Crytzer, have been collecting pieces of documentation published by the Open Badges team during the last 5 years into a new more complete sitemap, and we’re prepping for a relaunch at the end of March.
  • Open Badges Mailing List and Open Badges Dev List — Collaborative work produces a lot of discussion, but much of the important threads of conversation had been diffused among too large a number of mailing lists, and people were missing important messages. We’re redirecting working group conversations to use the two core mailing lists. The Standard Working Group and other technical efforts will use the Dev list, while nontechnical Working Groups are invited to use the main badges list. Announcements on each of the affected mailing lists are forthcoming.
  • Events Calendar — Check in and subscribe to the official Open Badges Events Calendar. This holds information about the official working group calls for active groups, the weekly Community Call, webinars, in-person conferences and other events closely related to Open Badges and the work of the BA.
  • Twitter — Follow the @OpenBadges account and the #OpenBadges hashtag for timely updates from around the Alliance. Dozens of community members are regularly sharing updates tagged with the hashtag. Recurring Twitter chats for several communities of practice are organized by BA members and appear on the Events calendar.
  • Slack — Register for the Badge Alliance Slack Channel where BA staff and community members are often available to answer quick questions, discuss issues, or collaborate on working group deliverables.
  • Facebook — Like our page on Facebook

In-Person Events

Sometimes, it’s possible to get things done face to face that are impossible no matter how many conference calls are devoted to a topic. The Badge Alliance will partner with BA member organizations to offer a series of official Open Badges events around the globe every year. These will typically be paired with a conference or workshop offered by a Badge Alliance member around a topic of interest to the badges community.

Specific events on the 2016 Calendar:

  • Aurora Badges Summit — June 24, Aurora, CO, the day before the ISTE Conference: featuring keynotes and workshops on a wide variety of badges topics.
  • Digital Media & Learning (DML) — October 5–7, Irvine, CA: The core conference for the Connected Learning community, featuring Geek-outs, ignite talks, keynotes, and a variety of presentations from radical learning organizations.
  • ePIC 2016 — October 26–28, Bologna, Italy: Featuring presentations and collaboration on ePortfolios, Open Badges, Personal Ledgers, Identities, Trust, Blockchains.